How technology helps Liniar stay ahead of the game

Hello humanbots!

As I am certain that you can compute, life at Liniar is always busy and I have been particularly flat out testing our new reversible window lately – but more on that another day.

Obviously, having a highly qualified and technologically gifted robot like myself employed as Head of Testing here is very beneficial to the company.

This led me to consider how other departments here make the most of technology, so I decided to pay a few of them a visit and ask some of the managers their thoughts on the subject.

Liniar Managing Director Martin Thurley

At the forefront

With a well-earned reputation for innovation, Liniar has a distinct advantage when it comes to using technology to streamline our production processes – our plant and facilities were purpose-built just a few years ago, with everything designed in the right place, for the right reasons.

I bumped into MD-bot Martin Thurley who told me: “It’s essential we remain at the forefront of technological advancements in order to keep our operations lean and offset other inflationary costs such as raw materials that are outside our control – all our investments and efforts are geared towards keeping prices as low as possible for our customers.”

Tooling technology

Operations Director Edward Webb explained further: “One of the main advantages to constructing a new factory and system from scratch was being able to build on past experience to make sure every operational process is optimised for the best possible results.

“From the start, we knew the time and cost issues that arise when machinery and tooling are old and worn – so we created our own toolroom with expert engineers who look after every tool, a large spares and maintenance department to keep everything running smoothly and the latest high-tech equipment to help the team maintain the machinery. All machines have a standard low-energy efficient system, with all water and services laid on new.

£5m annual investment

“We spend in the region of £5 million each year on the most up to date machinery and tooling available, all of which helps to make sure our products are the best the market has to offer.

“We’re lucky to have an owner, and now a parent company, firmly behind that investment outlook. Nothing here is second-hand, everything is new – and that, we know from experience, is critical to keeping everything at optimum performance, and scrap and downtime to a minimum.

Foiling technology

“We’ve recently taken delivery of a single line foiling machine to help meet the increasing demand for coloured window products.

This machine focuses on ‘specials’ and has been specified for optimum efficiency – with quick set-up times, easy foil change-overs and a fully automated line requiring only one person to operate it.”

Mixing technology

Even the way the uPVC mixing and extrusion process has been designed utilises the latest software and high-tech systems. Some of our competitors have multiple formulations to compensate for worn extruders and tooling – but we’re able to run our entire factory on one basic formulation of uPVC.

“The largest uPVC mixing plant in Europe has been built right next door to the extrusion halls, with enormous holding silos to hold hundreds of tonnes of raw material ready for mixing,” said Edward. “Once the mixing process has taken place, a computerised delivery system pipes the uPVC mixture through an intricate network of pipes to the extrusion machine that needs it. This means no manual intervention is needed, and the intelligent software can turn the supply on or off as required.”

More to come…

It really was incredibly fascinating to see how technology runs through every aspect of the production process here at Liniar. Next time I will tell you what I found in our Design & Development and Logistics departments.

In the meantime, ‘spec’ soon and ‘tech’ care (little robot humour for you).

Mark II

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